Sebastien Loeb has been given a two minute penalty in Sardinia because his co-driver Daniel Elena unfastened his safety belts while their car was still in motion when they stopped to change a wheel on SS11 yesterday.
The world champion falls from third to fourth in the results as a consequence of the punishment.
Although in past cases drivers have been disqualified outright for not having their safety belts fastened, the stewards decided that Elena's infringement was less severe because it had happened as the car was slowing to a halt for the wheel change, rather than while they were driving at a competitive pace.
Loeb's demotion means that Petter Solberg takes his second podium of the season in his self-run Citroen.
With Mikko Hirvonen finishing second behind his Ford team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala, Loeb's lead over the Finn in the championship is now 17 points.